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Hearings set to consider expanding state's brand areaTell North Platte what you think

Two hearings are scheduled in September to make comments in support or opposition of two Legislative resolutions to expand the state's cattle brand area.

Hearings to consider expanding the brand area statewide in Nebraska have been set for two rural communities. Sen. Al Davis is asking for comments about his resolution, LR 271, for statewide expansion of the brand area and also for Sen. Ken Schilz’s resolution, LR 290, which will take a look at brand inspection service areas.

The first hearing is Thursday, Sept. 12 in Ainsworth, Nebraska, at the Ainsworth Conference Center, 606 E. 4th Street. The hearing will begin at 5:30 p.m.

The next hearing will be Friday, Sept. 13, in West Point at the Nielsen Community Center, 200 Anna Stalp Ave. at 2:30 p.m.

At both hearings, comments will be heard pertaining to the benefits and costs associated with expanding the brand inspection area to include the entire state of Nebraska.

Comments on the second resolution concerning designating counties as mandatory brand inspection areas will also be heard.

Leaders of the Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska are in favor of expanding the state's brand area.

“Cattle are a valuable asset, an asset with a brain and the ability to travel many miles,” said Dave Wright, the president of the Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska. “Brand inspection helps to insure that your assets are not sold in someone else’s name.”

“It has always been a hassle crossing the brand inspection line that splits our state but Sen. Davis’ bill will fix that and still protect our livestock,” said ICON and R-CALF member Joe Pongratz. “This is something that needs to done. Having part of the state in the brand area and part out creates confusion for producers and loopholes for thieves.”

Pongratz said the bill would not require anyone to brand but it would make the entire state brand inspected.

For ranchers in the existing brand inspection area of Nebraska, branding has been a way of life for more than 100 years and still works for tracking stolen cattle.

ICON believes and strongly supports the use of branding as an excellent system for traceability of livestock disease as opposed to the spendy animal ID system touted by the USDA.

“Brand Inspection simply provides "proof of ownership" of cattle at the point of sale,” said ICON president Dave Wright. “The real question is why would anyone be afraid of proving ownership of the cattle they are trying to sell? If the entire state were a brand inspection area, the only time you would need it would be at the point of sale and crossing the state line.”

Wright also said brand inspection helps to prevent someone from selling cattle which are not theirs, even if the cattle are strays or stolen.

“Brand inspection helps to keep people honest,” said Wright.

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 8/28/2013
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